Humans of TMA is a content series in partnership with Discover_TMA that showcases the diverse, interesting, and creative people that make up The Marketing Arm.
Let’s get to know Jaime…
How do you bring your full self into your work? What unique perspectives do you bring? Gonna keep it real for a sec. A few months into this pandemic, I noticed I was not bringing my full self into work. However, it wasn’t happening just at work. As I’m sure many others have experienced, my professional and personal worlds have been rocked and the unbalance of things has left me a bit rattled. It was (and sometimes still is) hard to be productive and motivated and turn “work mode” on when so much is happening/changing around us. My perspective these days is a daily exercise in being authentic – which I’ve found isn’t too different from others at the agency right now. We’re collectively going through something quite traumatic, but I like to think we’re being more open and authentic about our shared and individual experiences. We’re not straying away from having an honest dialogue about mental health and that it’s okay to not be okay all the time as long as we have a plan to address it. I’m hoping through therapy, medication, and time I’ll get back to feeling like my whole self.
What has been your favorite cultural moment of the last few years? So many things live in my mind rent free. This is MY non-definitive list (in no particular order)…
- Rihanna’s 2019 SAVAGE x FENTY show. The artistry, set design, choreography, it was *chef’s kiss*.
- Lady Gaga’s 2009 MTV VMA performance of “Paparazzi.” Alternatively, her Super Bowl LI halftime performance.
- Watching Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart for the first time.
- Dakota Johnson being the catalyst of the downward spiral of Ellen DeGeneres’s public persona.
Where do you find inspiration? I am open to receiving inspiration in all forms these days. I have a hunger for inspiration that motivates me on a daily basis, so I look for it in even the smallest ways it shows up in my life. Be it a song, a sentence in a book, or ArtTok (TikToks about art).
What causes are you supportive of and why? I’m supportive of any cause/organization that advances the rights and betters the lives of marginalized communities, specifically the lives of Black trans women, immigrants, and LGBTQ youth. I try to be the person I needed when I was younger. I’m so grateful for the people and friendships that knowingly and even unknowingly saved my life. I’d like to one day leave this earth with the comfort that I did that for someone.
What is your guilty pleasure? Admittedly, my latest attempt at retaining my youth and staying on-trend with the youths has been keeping up with TikTok. People you should be following…
- My spiritual advisor: @Tofu, a Japanese Shiba Inu that makes me smile on my toughest days through wisdom and motivational videos.
- My yummy king: @chefjonkung, teaches me how make yummy things.
- My wholesome king: @MisterRogersTikTok, because we desperately need a revival of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
- My chaotic queen: @averagefashionblogger, when I think about the chaos and dysfunction that TikTok can be, this is what I believe people assume it is. And they would be right.
What is one thing you wish more people knew about you? Sometimes I think I come off rude or uninterested around new people, but I promise I’m not! I’m just terribly anxious around folks I don’t know. I’m working on it! Also, I like to remember books by reading them with an instrumental song on in the background while I read it in its entirety. On repeat. I read Andrew Sean Greer’s Less while Ólafur Arnalds, “Doria” played. I’m a sucker for a cinematic experience.
What’s the best advice you were ever given? “In your place, if there is pain, nurse it. And if there is a flame, don’t snuff it out. Don’t be brutal with it. We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster, that we go bankrupt by the age of 30 and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to make yourself feel nothing so as not to feel anything – what a waste!” From a monologue in André Aciman’s book Call Me By Your Name.
What’s your hobby or passion project outside of TMA? At the beginning of quarantine, I went through this thing where I was trying EVERYTHING to not lose my sanity. Learning to paint or how to embroider, working on puzzles, etc. I lose interest in things very quickly if I don’t catch on fast enough for my inner Virgo. However, as a glutton for punishment, I’ve created my own litmus test to challenge myself to learn/try 30 new things before turning 30 (September 2, 2021). No pressure right?!
What three words would your closest friends use to describe you? Humorous. Hungry. Agreeable.
What led you to this career/industry? In high school, I was obsessed with The Hills and The Devil Wears Prada. I wanted to work in events, music, fashion, etc. I wanted to live the exhausting and fun life Lauren Conrad and Whitney Port portrayed on the show and be Miranda Priestly. And now I get to do cool shit like this…
What are you watching? I watch too much television. If it’s available to stream, I have most likely found time to watch it. Recently binged Hannibal, Lovecraft Country, The Vow, Succession, and Ratched. I decided I needed something that would last me a while, so starting Lost to scratch that itch.
What are you reading? I’m splitting my time between Matt Taibbi’s I Can’t Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street, which explores the roots and repercussions of the murder of Eric Garner by the NYPD. And because levity is needed these days, I’m also listening to Mariah Carey’s memoir, The Meaning of Mariah, which is narrated by the queen herself with such gusto that it might as well be serotonin in a bottle.
What are you listening to? My Latinx pop girls are giving me such gifts these days. On repeat is Carla Morrison’s “Ansiedad” and “Indiferente” by Bruses. Two songs about anxiety which seems fitting for our current year. My love for happy/dance-y beats paired with sad lyrics is never-ending.
What are you ignoring? I feel like I’m not ignoring enough. A lot is happening all at once.
Who are you following? I’m following this election. Please make a plan to vote and do it early! Go to VoteSaveAmerica.com to build your sample ballot with all your local elections taking place in addition to the presidential one. Print it and take it with you when you go to the polls!
Jaime Villegas is an Experience Producer in TMA’s Dallas office who brings events and experiential marketing to life for a variety of clients. Serving on the leadership team for Discover_TMA, he is a huge contributor to the agency’s diversity, equity, and inclusion.